Author: Jane Kindred
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 3 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: One stranger seeks to claim her heart…another is destined to destroy her.
Looking Glass Gods, Book 1
Ra. Just two letters. Barely a breath. When she stumbles into the frozen Haethfalt highlands, her name is all she has—the last remnant of a past she’s managed to keep hidden, even from herself. Her magic, however, isn’t so easy to conceal—magic that’s the province of the Meer, an illicit race to which she can’t possibly belong.
The eccentric carpenter who takes her in provides a welcome distraction from the puzzle of herself. Though Jak refuses to identify as either male or female, the unmistakable spark of desire between them leaves Ra determined to find out what lies beneath the enigmatic exterior.
But more dangerous secrets are brewing underneath the wintry moors. Jak’s closest friend, Ahr, is haunted by his own unspeakable past. Bounty hunters seeking fugitive Meer refuse to leave him in peace.
Harboring feelings for both Ra and Ahr, Jak nonetheless struggles to keep them apart. Because like the sun and the moon coming together, their inevitable reunion has the potential to destroy Jak’s whole world.
Warning: Shape-shifting? That’s so last millennium. Reincarnation? Yawn. Get ready for a gender-bending fantasy that will fire your imagination and haunt your dreams.
Review: I don’t even know where to start. This was a complex fantasy tale of lust, love, heartbreak, and social upheaval. Ra came alive blissfully unaware of her past. Ahr was all too aware of his past. When they reunited it didn’t go well. They have ample reasons to hate each other, but they’re still drawn to each other. They are the most important people in each other’s lives and the reason is horrible. They shared a child and brought about their own ruinations. Of course, Jak likes both of them, and both of them like Jak in return. There is a bit of a love triangle going on there. As all that trauma is going on, we also learn of the hardships faced by Cree and Ume. Cree, Ume, and Ahr were revolutionaries. They helped bring down the Meerist governments. They didn’t realize how revolting revolution could be, nor did they realize the real power wasn’t really on the throne. What all these people still don’t realize is there is a young child in need of help who ties them all together.
It’s pretty safe to say I hated this book. And that’s a good thing. Had the characters been less well formed or situations less well described I would have shrugged off the murder of a child, the sort of rape of a young woman, the torture of another child, the persecution of people of varying sexualities, and genocide. I was left feeling I was bearing witness to a carnival of horrors. I didn’t enjoy it. Add to that I really hate love triangles. Like, seriously. So, I feel I need to explain that the very fact this book was well written was what made it so easy for me to hate. I hated this well crafted story.
What I found absolutely fascinating was the ways in which the power of words was explored in this story. The Meer could literally create and destroy with a simple word. They held the populace under their sway, knowing their whole lives could be changed on a whim. The flip side of the Meeric power with words is the way words fuel an angry and downtrodden populace. The words bolster the people and gradually become more extreme until both the words and the people are violent. That all made sense and in some ways I expected it. What I found very interesting was the regret. Ra and Ahr couldn’t take back the actions precipitated by their words. They had no choice but to live with their regret. It wasn’t pretty.
Overall this book was horribly depressing. I felt there was no respite from the horrible things the characters were experiencing or remembering. I imagine those will come in time, but I don’t think I’ll continue with the series to find out.